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Domain Names Glossary

Administrative Contact
When registering a domain name, the administrative contact must be provided to the registrar when completing the registration form. The administrative contact is individual who is responsible for acting as the primary contact with the registrar. The administrative contact does not necessarily need to be able to manage the technical aspects of the domain.

Billing Contact
When registering a domain name, the billing contact must be provided to the registrar when completing the registration form. The name of the individual who is responsible for receiving the bills from the registrar. The billing contact is the person who is responsible for paying the registrar any fees.

country code Top Level Domain. Each country has a unique ccTLD which is appended at the end of the domain name (e.g. ""). For a list of ccTLDs, visit IANA's web site at the following address:

DNS (Domain Name System)
A system which maintains a relationship between Internet Protocol (IP) addresses and domain names. Computers use the DNS system to electronically transmit data with other computers through the internet. DNS is actually comprised of a set of database servers which maintain the relationship between IP addresses and domain names and facilitate the lookup between the two.

Domain Name
Every computer connected to the internet has a unique numeric internet protocol (IP) address. In order for two computers to transmit information through the internet, they must use each other's IP address. Because it is difficult for people to recall long strings of numbers, the concept of a domain name was created to introduce a layer of abstraction between us and the numerical IP address. For example, instead of having to remember "42.232.1123.55", we can use the domain name "".

File Transfer Protocol. A communications method for transferring data between computers on the internet. FTP "servers" store files that can be accessed from other computers (FTP "clients"). FTP also provides security services so only authorized access is allowed.

generic Top Level Domain. A Top Level Domain represents the last part of a domain name. For example, the domain name "", the TLD is ".com". The gTLD represents a category or organization. Some gTLDs are restricted while others are available to the public.The following gTLDs are currently used:

.aero - Restricted to members in aviation communities (aerospace agencies, pilots, etc.)
.biz - Restricted to businesses
.com - Unrestricted
.coop - Restricted to cooperatives
.museum - restricted to museums, museum organizations and individual members of the museum profession
.name - Restricted to individuals
.net - Unrestricted
.org - Unrestricted
.pro - Restricted to members of the medical, legal and accounting professions licensed in the U.S.

Hypertext Markup Language . Web sites on the internet are stored or presented as documents which web browsers can interpret. These document files are designed using a specific tagging language in which the documents are "marked up" so that both text and graphics can be included in the web page. For example a word in a web page may be contained within tags to make the text appear in bold through a browser.

HyperText Transfer Protocol. The method by which internet documents such as HTML files can be exchanged between computers. Web browsers use the HTTP protocol to interpret web pages. One computer acts as a client (for example, your web browser) and another computer acts as a server (for example, the web server you are surfing).

A term used to describe text that contains links to other text to make the overall document more readable. Web pages contain hypertext in that they include links either to other web pages or to other sections of the same web page.

Internet Assigned Numbers Authority. An organization located at the Information Sciences Institute at the University of Southern California in Marina del Rey, CA who oversees core internet infrastructure management parameters including port assignments.

Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. A non-profit organization who is responsible for managing the internets domain name system including Internet Protocol (IP) address space allocation.

The InterNIC was originally started as a joint effort between Network Solutions, Inc. and AT&T. to perform many of the functions of ICANN. The InterNIC is now non-functional and only hosts an informational site regarding domain name registration.

IP Address
IP stands for Internet Protocol. All computers across the internet are assigned a unique identifier called an IP address. IP addresses are used like street addresses so other computers can locate them. IP addresses are numerical numbers between 0 and 255, separated by periods. For example, an IP Address may look something like:

ISP (Internet Service Provider)
Internet Service Provider. A business that provides an individual or business telecommunications access to the internet. Depending upon the telecommunication capabilities of the ISP, access may be provided by a dial-up telephone line or a high-speed DSL circuit.

A nameserver or sometimes called a domain name server is a computer with software that maintains a cross-reference between domain names and IP addresses. For example, the IP address may resolve to "". Nameservers are used so people do not have to remember the numerical IP addresses of web sites.

NIC fee
The NIC fee is the fee you pay for registering a domain name. The fee is specified by the domain registrar and varies by registrar. The NIC fee will vary based on the number of years you wish to register the domain name. Typically, the NIC fee declines as you increase the term of the domain registration. Once the registration period expires (for example, one year), you may re-register the domain name and paying another NIC fee.

NIC handle
A NIC handle is an alias of nickname for domain name. A NIC handle is established when registering a domain name through a registrar. A NIC handle is assigned by the registrar. The NIC handle provides a unique identifier for a given domain name. The NIC handle can be used to search for information about a domain name.

A term used to describe for temporarily placing a record in a nameserver for later use. Many registrars and hosting companies will "park" your domain for free until you launch your website. Some registrars charge a parking fee. Usually, the registrar or hosting company hopes that once you complete your website, you will end up hosting your site with them. This is usually why they park your domain for free.

The person or business that registers a domain name. When registering a domain name, the name of the registrant is the entity who is ultimately accountable for the fees and any terms and conditions that the registrar specifies.

A registrar is a business that has the ability to register domain names on the behalf of anyone interested in obtaining a domain name. Registrars must accredited by Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers(ICANN) and may only be allowed to register certain top level domain names. The registrar must maintain domain name record information about each domain name and manage registration, expiration, re-registration, and NIC fee collection processes.

A domain registry is a database that contains information about every registered domain name. When you register a domain name, all of the information about that domain is stored in a registry database (registrant name, NIC handle, domain name, etc.) Different registries exist for different top level domains. For example, the .com top level domain registry is managed by Verisign Global Registry Services.

The domain name system is designed as a hierarchy. The root is the highest level of the domain name system hierarchy and is represented by the "." in domain names. The root is higher in the domain name system than the top level domain. For example, for the domain "", "espn" is the second-level domain, "com" is the top level domain, and the "." is the root.

Second-Level Domain
The domain name system is designed as a hierarchy. The root is the highest level of the hierarchy, followed by the top level domain, then followed by the second-level domain. For example, for the domain "", "espn" is the second-level domain, "com" is the top level domain, and the "." is the root.

Technical Contact
When you register a domain name, you must specify a technical contact in the domain name record. The technical contact does not have to be different than the registrant, but should be the person who is able to address any technical issues regarding the domain name being registered.

Top Level Domain. A Top Level Domain represents the last part of a domain name. For example, the domain name "", the TLD is ".com". The domain name system is designed as a hierarchy. The root is the highest level of the hierarchy, followed by the top level domain, then followed by the second-level domain. For example, for the domain "", "espn" is the second-level domain, "com" is the top level domain, and the "." is the root.

Uniform Resource Locator. An identifier for locating objects on the internet. Usually, in a web browser, a URL will begin with the type of protocol used to access the object. For example, a the URL "" begins with "http:" which specified that the HTTP protocol will be used to access the object. The next part of the URL includes a domain name "". A nameserver then routes your URL request to the IP address for, which is likely to have web server running (to serve HTTP client requests) and send back web page information. Instead of http, the URL may contain ftp, which signifies the file transfer protocol will be used to access the internet object.

Web Page
A web page, is a document that contains text and graphical information that can be accessed through the internet through a web browser. Usually, web pages are stored as HTML documents on a web server. Alternatively, web pages may be generated dynamically as they are accessed through the use of scripting language such as Active Server Pages (ASP).
Web Server
A web server is a computer that provides HTTP services to HTTP clients. A web server stores web pages that are accessible to other computers that may access the web pages using a web browser. A web server offers security services to prevent unauthorized access to some or all of the web pages on the server.

Web Site
A web site is a collection of web pages that reside on a web server for the purposes of servicing http or ftp requests. For example, "" is a website that likely contains hundreds of web pages that provide different information about sports.

WhoIs is both a database a protocol. A WhoIs database is maintained by a domain registry which contains all pertinent information about domain names (registrant, technical contacts, etc.). WhoIs is also a tool and protocol used for accessing these various domain registry databases. All domain registrars offer a WhoIs tool that allows you to search various registry databases to find out information about domain name and which ones are currently available.

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